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friends are scattered, so that there is not that fellowship, for the most part, which is in less neighbourhoods. But we may go farther, and affirm most truly, that it is a mere and miserable solitude to want true friends, without which, the world is but a wilderness; and even in this sense also, of solitude, whosoever, in the frame of his nature and affections, is unfit for friendship, he, taketh it of the beast, and not from humanity.
OLD friends are best. , King James used to call for his old shoes; they were easiest to his. feet.
When empire in its childhood first appears,
A MAN must first govern himself, ere he be fit to govern a family, and his family, ere he be fit to bear the government in the commonwealth.
SIR WALTER RALEGH.
A GOOD form of government sufficeth by itself, to retain the people, not only without assistance of a laborious wit, but even against all devices of the greatest and shrewdest politicians : every sheriff and constable being sooner able to arm the multitude in the king's behalf, than any over-weening rebel, how mighty soever, can, against him.
AS plenty and peace are the parents of idle security, so is security as fruitful in begetting and bringing forth both danger and subversion, of which, all estates in the world have tasted, by interchange of times.
THE best governments are always subject to be like the fairest crystals, where every icicle, or grain is seen, which, in a fouler stone, is never perceived.
THE answer of Apollonius to Vespasian, is full of excellent instruction. Vespasian · asked him what was Nero's overthrow? He answered, Nero
could touch and tune the harp well, but in government, sometimes he used to wind the pins too high, sometimes to let them down too low; and certain it is, that nothing destroyeth authority so much, as the unequal and untimely interchange of power pressed too far, and relaxed too much.
IN the youth of a state, arms do flourish; in the middle age of a state, learning; and then, both of them together for a time: in the declining age of a state, mechanical arts and merchandize.
THÉ greatness of an estate, in bulk and territory, doth fall under measure; and the greatness of finances and revenue under computation. The population may appear by 'musters, and the number and greatness of cities and towns, by card's and maps; but yet there is not any thing amongst civil affairs, more subject to error, than the right valuation and true judgment concerning the power and forces of an estate.
Walled towns, "stored arsenals and armories, goodly races of horses, chariots of war, élephants, ordnance, artillery, and the like, all this is but a sheep in a lion's skin, except the breed and disposition of the people be stout and warlike. Nay, number (itself) in armies importeth not much, where the people is of weak courage; for; as Virgil saith, “ It never troubleth the wolf, how
many the sheep be.”
Many are the examples of the great odds between number and courage : so that a man may truly make a judgment, that the principal point of greatness, in any state, is to have a race of military men. Neither is money the sinews of war (as it is trivially said) where the sinews of men's arms, in base and effeminate people are failing; for Solon said well to Creesus (when in ostentation he shewed him his gold) “Sir, if any “ other come, that hath better iron than
he “ will be master of all this gold.” Therefore, let any prince or state think soberly of his forces, except his militia of natives be of good and valiant soldiers; and let princes, on the other side, that have subjects of martial disposition, know their own strength, unless they be otherwise wanting unto themselves. As for mercenary forces (which is the help in this case) all examples shew, that whatsoever estate or prince doth rest upon them, he may spread his feathers for a time, but he will mew them soon after.
LET states that aim at greatness, take heed how their nobility and gentlemen do multiply too fast: for that maketh the common subject grow to be a peasant and base swain, driven out of heart, and, in effect, but a gentleman's labourer. Even as you may see in coppice woods; if you
shall never have clean underwood, but shrubs and bushes. So in countries, if the gentlemen be too many, the commons will be base ; and you will bring it to that, that not the hundredth poll will be fit for an helmet,* especially as to the infantry, which is the nerve of an army; and so there will be great population and little strength.
Herein the device of King Henry VII. was profound and admirable ;t in making farms and houses of husbandry of a standard ; that is, maintained with such a proportion of land unto them, as may breed a subject to live in convenient plenty, and no servile condition; and to keep the plough in the hands of the owners, f and not mere hirelings: and thus indeed, you shall attain to Virgil's character, which he gives to ancient Italy, Terra potens armis atque ubere glebæ.
* “Ill fares the land, to hast'ning ills a prey,
Where wealth accumulates and men decay.